Saturday, February 18, 2006


On October 28-29, 2005, several up-and-coming comic book artists met on the shores of White Beach, Puerto Galera in the Philippines in a competition to create a 24-page comic book in twenty-four (24) straight hours. But not just any comic book. The comic book had to revolve around arnis or Filipino martial arts (FMA) and Philippine folklore and history.

This event, called the 1st Philippine 24-Hour Comic Book Challenge, was the brainchild of Jean-Paul Zialcita, an arnis practitioner, musician and comic book enthusiast. Together with his beautiful wife Nina Terol, Paul is the founder of Likha Communications Consulting, which hosted the event.

To keep the energy level and creative juices pumped out to the max, Zialcita, with the wild abandon of an orchestra conductor and the aplomb of a circus ringmaster, kept the show going at a frenetic pace with a myriad of performers.

Several local arnisadors led by respected community elder Gerbacio “Ka Gerbin” Manongsong performed beachside demonstrations. Zialcita himself performed on his kali drum, a large percussive instrument similar to a Japanese taiko drum played using arnis strikes and techniques. Artists of a different sort painted henna tattoo in alibata (ancient Filipino script) and in cool indigenous patterns. Noted Puerto Galera musicians entertained both participants and spectators with a live jam session. Throughout the night, several anime and comic book-based films such as Batman Begins and Final Fantasy VII were shown on a wide screen propped up on the beach.

At the end of the event, comic books were displayed, artists were declared winners, and the event was pronounced a success. Many trudged home or caught flights home for much-needed sleep, well-deserved rest and long-delayed baths.

But for Zialcita, the end of the competition was just the beginning of more work as well as more opportunities. With Filipino martial arts as the rallying point, Zialcita hopes to push for a major Filipino cultural renaissance in music, literature, and pop art to the global arena. His own efforts include comic books and telenovelas, as well as public performances and CD’s featuring his percussive music on his kali drum. He is scheduled to perform at the martial arts events at the SEA (South East Asian) games in the Philippines in November through December of 2005.

For those interested in knowing more about the 1st Philippine 24-Hour Comic Book Challenge or Jean-Paul Zialcita, or are interested in purchasing comic books or Jean-Paul Zialcita’s CD’s, please contact me.


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